EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) – Eagan police are trying to figure out the motive of a masked man who was shot and killed by a security officer early Monday morning.

Police were called to the industrial park on Aldrich Drive on reports of a man attempting to rob a security officer.

That security guard was hired to watch over thousands of gift boxes put together to help needy children.

“The initial call from the security officer was that he had just shot someone and that he may have been getting robbed,” said Aaron Mechtemes, a public information officer with Eagan police.

Police say it was just after midnight when they got the call from the security officer guarding the donated gifts to Operation Christmas Child, an overseas charity.

“Our officers responded to the area and found the suspect deceased,” Mechtemes said. “On scene, the security officer suffered minor injuries, he was not transported to the hospital.”

Police say they believe the security officer acted in self-defense.

“Investigators are looking into the motive of the suspect and why he was in that parking lot,” Machtemes said.

Investigators are not sure if the masked man’s target was the officer or what he was guarding.

Operation Christmas Child is operated by Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical humanitarian organization. The program is in its 23rd year of spreading shoeboxes full of joy to children in over 100 countries

“Our goal this year in Operation Christmas Child is 12 million boxes, these little shoe box gifts,” said Randy Riddle, the director of Operation Christmas Child. “Nine million [boxes] will come right here from the United States, 800,000 will come from this warehouse right here in Eagan.”

Riddle says what happened outside the warehouse cannot have an impact on the work that takes place inside.

“Our volunteers who come to this warehouse, they inspect every gift to make sure that they are ready to be shipped overseas,” Riddle said.

More than 10,000 volunteers will work to make sure the 800,000 boxes get to children. The boxes are filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies.

The warehouse opened Monday afternoon and volunteers are there accepting donations once again.

Volunteers says it’s been a sad day for all involved, that’s why spreading joy to those in need is more important than ever.

The name of the masked suspect has not been released.

Reg Chapman